Poems of friendship

Dear Friend(s)Jeff Sugarman has published his first collection of poems, Dear Friend(s). In it he looks at love, desire and friendship in many times, manners and places. The long poem that gives the collection its title is an elegy to a specific Dear Friend who died from AIDS in its earliest years.

You can buy Dear Friend(s) online from The Emma Press (which specialises in poetry, short fiction and children’s books) or nearby at Southpaw Coffee in 2 Roman Way (where you can get much more besides coffee).

Finding and funding fictional houses

This message comes from Phyllis Richardson.
strawberry hillHave you ever wondered which were the models for Pemberley, Brideshead and Manderley? Or what made E. M. Forster write about an idyllic cottage called ‘Howard’s End’? Or how did John Galsworthy envisage the cutting-edge (for 1886) house designed by Philip Bossiney for Soames Forsyte?

And then there’s Shandy Hall, the ‘crack-brained’ house where Laurence Sterne created Tristram Shandy, one of the most experimental novels ever written…

The house of fiction is a book by Phyllis Richardson exploring how the most celebrated houses in literature were inspired by existing houses, architectural trends and the authors’ personal experiences. It contains specially commissioned drawings by local artist Harriet Winterburn, such as that above of Horace Walpole’s ‘little Gothic castle’, Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham, where he dreamed not of Manderley but of Otranto.

The house of fiction is available to sponsor (by crowd funding at Unbound), much as Tristram Shandy was when first published in 1759. Sponsoring it will put your name in every copy and can even get you a signed print of your choice. You can also follow its development on Twitter: @_HouseofFiction.

Phyllis Richardson has published several books on architecture, as well as literary reviews. Her books include Superlight: lightweight housesNano House, New Sacred Architecture and the XS series. She is a longtime local resident, having lived by the Caledonian Road for 19 years. But that story is another book altogether…

Lengthy gestation of work on opera

The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to WozzeckMichael Rose has now published his long-awaited book, The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck. It is a distant descendant of radio broadcasts that he made fifty years ago. In it he discusses the origins of, and responses to, operas by fourteen composers (with Mozart being allowed two operas). The reviews have been very enthusiastic both in the UK and in the US; you can see examples in The Spectator and The Wall Street Journal.

You can find out here about another Michael Rose who lived in the neighbourhood.